A/N: Hello again, I do believe this is the last chapter, but I'm not for sure because I haven't written it yet.
A few days later, after constantly teasing Pépin for not coming back on her first night there, Jacqueline left (causing both extreme embarrassment for both me and him). She wished me and my Yankee ways well before loading onto the bus that was heading for Paris. After she left, I couldn't wait for our 'appointment' with Ernest! The days ticked by slowly as Pépin sat at each other's counters filling out the endless paperwork. When we reached the last page it was about our living conditions. We lived in two different houses, granted they were only a few feet apart, we were still living separately and we each only had one bedroom.
"They won't let us have him sleep in a separate house than us," Pépin said. "And I doubt they'd like a cot set up in one of our rooms."
"We could try the cot and if they don't like it in our room, we could put it in the restaurant at night," I suggested, frowning at the last paper.
"Should we move into together?" he asked, fiddling with a pen. "Just to make it easier?"
"But, it's already like we're living together," I said.
"I know, but to them it's still two houses."
"I guess," I mumbled. "Which house?" Pépin looked around and looked at me.
"Well, I've lived here for six years," he said. "and you've lived in your house for one year-almost. I think I should move into your house." He smiled at me. "Time to let someone else try out Les Deux Chats." I was almost crying from my happiness.
"Thank you! Thank you!" I cried and I kissed him on his cheek and began to furiously fill out the last form. "Tomorrow, our meeting with Ernest." I punched the air with joy.
"Today, I move out of my house and into ours." I looked around the kitchen and into the restaurant.
"Well, all you need to bring is your clothes, personal items and anything that I don't have that would be useful in the kitchen," I surveyed.
"Good because the nuns should be here in an hour to make sure we have a suitable home for a 'growing boy' as they put it."
"Ack! You never tell me these things till the very last minute!" I exclaimed as I jumped up and began running around grabbing things. "You've got to give me more time!"
"Sorry," he replied as he casually walked around picking up things I had missed and taking a few things from my hand that we didn't need. We had finished packing in fifteen minutes. It took us a full thirty for me to decide where everything went once we got it to 'our' place.
"Where do you want this?" Pépin asked, holding up a spoon for my inspection. I looked at it, looked around, and decided on a place.
"Over there, in that drawer," I said, pointing to the drawer in question. He didn't move.
"Are you sure?"
"Yes, I'm absolutely positive."
"Okay then..." I understood his hesitation because for the past thirty minutes I had told him to move every single item at least twice. He moved slowly over to the drawer, opened it, I felt my brain screaming 'No! Not there!' but I didn't say anything, and he set the spoon in the drawer and closed it. There was a knock on the door.
"Could you go get that?" I asked, butterflies dancing wildly in my stomach.
"Of course." He smiled and left the kitchen. I raced over to the drawer and yanked it open. I grabbed the offending item and ran over to another drawer, yanking it open and pushing the other one shut with my foot. Pépin and the two nuns walked in. Pépin's face froze and the two nuns looked at me curiously. I snapped upright and smiled brightly, hiding the spoon behind my back.
"Hello," I said happily, trying desperately to get the spoon into the drawer while easing the drawer shut with my hip.
"Hello," they answered back. Pépin was giving me the evil eye.
"Are you Ms. March?" the taller, leaner, and more severe looking nun asked me. I turned and put the spoon in the drawer and closed it.
"Yes, I am. And your name?"
"Sister Marguerite and this," she gestured at the short, portly, grandmotherly nun next to her, "is Sister Jeanne."
"Excuse me for a moment," Sister Jeanne said as she smiled kindly at me, her round voice bouncing off the counters. She stepped out for a moment, leaving us alone with Sister Marguerite.
"I understand that you want to adopt Ernest Physick," her low, menacing voice said.
"That would be correct," Pépin answered.
"How old are you?"
"Twenty-five," I said.
"Do you know anything about child rearing?" she asked. I stared at Pépin, clueless as to what she had just said.
"A little," he responded.
"Hmmm... And you?" She looked directly at me, her grey eyes steely.
"Do you know anything about child rearing?"
"Raising kids," Pépin inserted.
"Oh, yeah. I have a little sister, so I know a bit," I responded.
"Are you illiterate?" she asked, her thin mouth growing thinner.
"No, I'm American," I replied.
"Oh, an American," she said with disdain. The room grew chilly. Sister Jeanne walked in and a somber looking Ernest walked in behind her. Pépin and I looked surprised. Ernest smiled at me. "An American for Ernest's female guardian," Marguerite said. The way she said American really began to play with my nerves.
"Oh. So he'd live in a bilingual home. Good," Jeanne said.
"Yes," Marguerite drawled. "Where would Ernest sleep?"
"Currently we have a cot set up in our room, but if you object..."
"Good spot," Marguerite cut me off. "Keep him out of trouble."
"Mind if we have a look around?" asked Jeanne.
"Not at all."
"Thank you," she said before going off and looking around with Marguerite. The three of us stood awkwardly in the kitchen. Ernest couldn't quit smiling, even if it was sad, and Pépin was studying Ernest and I was playing with the drawer.
"Thank you," Ernest said quietly. I looked up. Ernest was standing there staring at me. I smiled at him.
"Don't worry about it."
Eventually, the nuns came back in and told Pépin and me that they'd let us adopt Ernest. They also told us that at the orphanage he was a terrible trouble maker. We just smiled and nodded. Ernest would come and live with us permanently in three weeks and those weeks couldn't have drug by any slower. Pépin and I tried to pass the time as best we could. We also decided that it would be in our best interests to get married and even with that happy decision, the time drug by.
Finally, Ernest showed up at our doorstep. Pépin and I were sitting on the step because it was sunny and drinking lemonade when he arrived. Ernest had never looked happier as he stood there holding his tiny suitcase and soccer ball staring at the both of us, at his new home and at the beginning of his new life and I couldn't help but smile too. That night as I sat up alone, I reflected on how I had come to France, my first big adventure and how it had turned out. I found myself looking out onto a totally new adventure... I couldn't wait.
A/N: Sorry, I know it's a cheesy ending, but thank you for sticking it through and reading it! Thank you everyone!